MINNEAPOLIS- In the midst of the recent measles outbreak it has been revealed that many daycare centers across Minnesota have not been following the state requirements that children be vaccinated or have a written exemption.
Daycare centers are required by state law to have all of their students vaccinated or on record as having a notarized exemption from the requirement. A recent report done by the Department of Health has determined that 223 of 1,400 centers have more than five percent of their student population who have not been vaccinated nor received a proper exemption.
Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, told the Star Tribune, “If the number drops below 95 [percent], the chance of measles infection is going up.”
Furthermore, only 42 percent of the day care centers in Minnesota have 100 percent vaccination rates. In fact, there are more than 600 children who have neither the proper exemption nor vaccination, than have exemptions for personal reasons.
Since the recent outbreak of measles, state officials have started to look closer at passing stricter legislation when it comes to exemptions. The legislation would require parents to first hear the verifiable medical information on vaccines prior to receiving an exemption for their child.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there about vaccines, misinformation which has contributed to the current outbreak of measles in Minnesota,” the bill’s author Rep. Mike Freiberg (D-Golden Valley) told Alpha News.
Minnesota is one of 18 states that allows families to opt out based on personal beliefs (other states only allow exemption on religious grounds). Currently only three states, California, Mississippi, and West Virginia do not allow for personal exemptions or religious exemptions (though they do allow for medical exemptions).
However, a recent report by the Department of Health may cast doubt on the effectiveness of this legislation, especially if people are already averse to getting a proper exemption as is. The Department of Health recently stated they are considering increasing immunization record monitoring and follow-ups.
In early May, Alpha News reported how anti-vaccine sentiments have played a pivotal role in influencing parents within the Somali community to forgo vaccination for their children. Currently, there have been 68 confirmed cases of measles within Minnesota in 2017.